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Study: Why California's residents aren't leaving in droves despite popular belief

About two-thirds of those leaving San Francisco remain in nearby counties, while 80% stayed in the state.
Credit: Andy Dean - stock.adobe.com
California Road Sign with dramatic sky and clouds.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California residents are not leaving the state in huge droves despite popular belief, according to a study conducted by the University of California (UC).   

California lost a congressional seat after seeing its population decline in 2020, with state officials blaming the loss on the declining birth rate, reductions in immigration, and an increase in deaths because of COVID-19, which had killed about 51,000 people.

The four takeaways in the study indicate that people are moving, but not at unusual rates; that there's no evidence of "millionaire flight;" that the state's economy attracts as much venture capital as other states combined; and that a majority of residents still believe in the "California Dream."  

The percentage of those who expressed they want to move out of California differs along party lines.  About 21% of Democrats and 30% of Republicans surveyed sad that they want to leave.

According to a UC San Diego study, about 23% of California voters indicated they were thinking of leaving the state, which is slightly lower than the 24%  found in a 2019 survey by UC Berkeley. 

Those living in the Central Valley and the Bay Area are more likely to plan a move. However, about two-thirds of those leaving San Francisco remain in nearby counties, while 80% stayed in the state.

Some believe millionaires are fleeing the state due to tax increases in recent years. However, this group is satisfied with California's direction, thinking it's the best place to raise their children. 

Middle-class families that make between $50,000 and $100,000 are most concerned about California's direction.

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